The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) harshly condemned the behavior exhibited by representatives of the ruling party in Serbia (SNS) after their crude and aggressive conduct towards journalists on 23 April.
During local elections in the town of Zajecar, suspicious groups were noticed near voting centers and appeared to communicate with members of the voting boards. CRTA, a committee of voting observers, reported that there were alleged voting irregularities in more than 7 voting centers, including Zajecar as well as the municipalities of Kosjeric, Vrbas, Kovin and Odzaci.
Throughout the day, filming was prohibited even in the vicinity of the SNS party headquarters where voting took place, and an unknown individual pushed out TV N1 journalist Gordana Bjeletic from the premises. A member of CRTA attempted to take pictures of the entrance of the voting center and party headquarters but was violently stopped after several individuals took his phone, deleted the pictures and told him there wouldn’t be any trouble if he stopped trying to photograph the scene. Other crews from media outlets, including B92, Istinomer and N1, were also sent out of the premises and prohibited from filming and reporting there.
SEEMO is a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South, East and Central Europe and its press freedom work is supported by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) project, as part of a grant by the European Commission.